Some of the material I appreciated a lot over the period of my recent retreat:

85 Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit;
send down from heaven’s height
your radiant light.
Come, lamp of every heart,
come, parent of the poor;
all gifts are yours.
Comforter beyond all comforting,
sweet unexpected guest,
sweetly refresh.
Rest in hard labour,
coolness in heavy heat,
hurt souls’ relief.
Refill the secret hearts
of your faithful,
O most blessed light.
Without your holy power
nothing can bear your light,
nothing is free from sin.
Wash all that is filthy,
water all that is parched,
heal what is hurt within.
Bend all that is rigid,
warm all that has frozen hard,
lead back the lost.
Give to your faithful ones,
who come in simple trust,
your sevenfold mystery.
Give virtue its reward,
give, in the end, salvation
and joy that has no end.     after the Golden Sequence


The canticles can be found here, very usefully:

and also I found this, which is kind of useful too:


Oh, that retreat seems a long way away now, but I plan to revisit and recall often.  It was a brilliant and rich time, much needed.  I will be posting bits and pieces from it over the next few months I expect.

retreat jenny meehan 2015

retreat jenny meehan 2015

This image was taken on a very bright but chilly day!  Sitting on the roof was good both in daytime and at night time!



” we should question the conventional wisdom that would place religious art and secular art in different and opposing camps”

“There are implicit assumptions throughout Pickstone’s lecture that sacred and profane, religious and secular, need no longer be seen as antithetical in the light of contemporary crossovers: the gallery has been sacralised by the continuing presence of religious concerns and the church has been colonised by the secular. Pickstone suggests that while the sacred and secular have historically been separate, artists are amongst those who can disturb this division and encourage a greater parity of, or communion between, the two. In other words, we should question the conventional wisdom that would place religious art and secular art in different and opposing camps. This would seem to allow more latitude for diverse experiences of sacredness, beyond monolithic religious categorisations.”

The above quote from:

(Transpositions is the official blog of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St Andrews.)

SPIDIR Training

Soon I will be starting my SPIDIR training.  Looking forward to this.

The name SPIDIR comes from the contraction of Spiritual Direction.  It’s nothing to do with spiders.

And what is spiritual direction?   A couple of years ago I had not heard of it.  The  text comes from the soul friend website:

Sacred space and spiritual direction

From early times across many religions, people have found it helpful to talk about their spiritual life with someone they trust. This creates a ‘sacred space’, confidential and comfortable, totally focused on their concerns.

Spiritual direction is not about someone telling you what to do, but about finding your own ‘direction’ in life, through the companionship of someone who listens reflectively, without judgement or prior expectations.

This may be particularly important at times of great change in your life, or when you have a difficult issue to deal with, or a feeling of inner emptiness. Or it may be about finding ways to pray, or to respond to a sense of being invited into something deeper.”

I am starting a two year training hoping to develop in this area.  As my lovely retreat companion reminded me “the Holy Spirit is the retreat giver”.   So I guess I am hoping that I will increase my own capacity to be led, to listen, and to learn, and then to put myself into being some use to others at the same time.

Painting Ramble

Well there is a lack of painting right now, mostly due to the fact that the house is full of people and the Studio Tent is freezing. Freezing.  However, it is good to look at others work, and also look back on my own.  Times and seasons.  I read a great deal about other painters approaches, thoughts and work on blogs such as “Painter’s Table”: 

It’s quite helpful, as apart from my fellow Kingston Artist’s Open Studios folk,  and a few longer term painters who I converse with, I have limited opportunity to discuss in depth ways of working, work, and motivations, thoughts, directions in painting.  I used to enjoy “Abstract Critical” quite a bit, but that no longer continues.  My Psychotherapist is a good person to discuss work with, and my Spiritual Mentor  also, so I am grateful for them.  I have had some excellent conversations with artists I have met over the last year in particular, and the consensus has been that it we invest our time into focused discussions this brings a lot of creative energy and light into our work, our perceptions, and our creativity in general.  Reading, listening and talking do serve as fuel for the fire!

One of the things I have mulled over for a while could be placed in the theme of “Order and Chaos”… This constantly interests me, and indeed, I named the exhibition in 2013  “Order and KAOS” (Kingston Artists Open Studios) because I have been thinking so much about art and creativity, and order and chaos in relation to my own art making approach.  I think when I am painting that formal considerations, (maybe “rules” or “order”  is another word for this), shouldn’t be foremost in mind, but neither should they be neglected.  When I am working I follow my feelings and inspiration instinctively, and the whole process feels very organic, but at the same time there has to be a kind of backbone.   Through habit and the accumulation of what I have learnt through past paintings, both my own and those of others, the work happens through a sieve of formal considerations, and they have to be under my command, ready to use,  a bit like subconscious tools.  I  need these tools to do the job of delivering my work in a resonant way,  visually, even if I am not always certain at all times what that “meaning”  is.  Well, on the matter of meaning… Do I always need to know? No, I don’t. Because I exist, the meaning is there in what I do with paint.  The act of painting is fundamental in that respect, and I think  it is vital for this to be a very much esteemed awareness. I paint not because I know, but because I paint in order to know.  But the knowing is still, and always will be, a mysterious kind of knowing; poetic. Meaning is a problematic word, too much attached to words.   One of the most lovely quotes I came upon recently was “The only reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint”…or something similar to that.  I just cannot get it out of my head… I releases me from this grappling with words!  Though I insist, it seems, on doing so anyway, as you see here.

But as an act of communication not just between the painter and the painting and vice versa, if something more expansive is wanted than this, then it’s not just my responses which matter, but the responses of others.   But I do not like to think of these very much, as it tends to steer me off course.  However, I do wish to strike emotional chords in paintings which can be heard by others (and  this is true for both paintings with recognisable subject matter and those without).  I also, very importantly, want my paintings to be beautiful. Physically.  Vulnerable.   So I arrive at some point in a painting where I need to demand certain things back from the work in the way of order and arrangement, even in the middle of chaos. And this is the excitement and the joy of it, the challenge and the achievement.  I think the kind of paintings I tend to enjoy the most are those that seem to have experienced periods of both chaos and order, just like us human beings do. Just as experience is.   I am rather aware when showing my abstract paintings to those who have no previous experiences of engaging with abstraction, that they may well find it pretty hard to appreciate the beauty which seems so clear to me!  Though I am often surprised.

It seems to me that I notice beauty in the relationships between chaos and order, not just in one or the other.  In order to create those relationships, I have to be aware of, and apply the rules I have learnt;   It may be that there are two kinds of rules;  There are rules formed by moments of realising what effect different elements of abstraction will have on the journey you eye takes when looking at a painting.  But there are also possibly rules which are uniquely personal, which determine if what the painter is doing rings “true” and accurately expresses that person’s individual approach/vision/  identity.   I think to have both is best.  It’s what I tend to aim for most of the time anyway. Each to their own.

In considering the “act” of painting, I tell myself that it depends on the nature of the act and the process of enactment.  An act can be brash, thoughtless and pointless, or it can be like this, but relate to something else in a  purposeful way.  Which changes it.  Or an act can be most well thought out and considered, indeed , too well thought out and considered; really needing  a wild companion to liven it up!  Or it may be quite complete in itself: both spontaneous and determined AND be able to convey both the interest which comes with uncertainty and the assurance that comes with structuring.

“Technique must be born of inner necessity” is something that seems true enough to me.  And maybe this is the contribution of a greater accordance with the whole action painting phases when we come to them.  Expressing movement;   the internal movements of emotion, thought, understanding and experience, (from whatever inspirational source thy come from, imaginative  or the physical environment)  Expressing movement in the stillness of a painting, I believe, will continue to entrance any who care to spend enough time looking.  Any painter needs to find the best way of expressing what moves them in life, and the particular techniques they choose for doing so are a secondary concern.  What matters is that they use the best way for them; the way which is most natural to them, and which enables them to function in accordance with their own personality.  In the way they feel comfortable with, but are not bored by.  In the way which enables them sufficient excitement and fear, (even if this comes with the attempt at a perfectly straight line…Not my kind of thing, but I am sure that it could be a thrill).  In a way that includes both elements of risk and elements of security.

Thoughts on painting, for now!

I am currently exploring some very different techniques to those I have been using for the last couple of years, though with no major plans to change direction.  However, I need to cast out in different directions in order to see what happens.  It might be a case of try it out and leave it where it is, but its so easy to rely on things you have been doing, and then to over use them.  So some rather random experiments for the time being.  Not sure I will post them up here though… That feels too exposed!

Lenten Flowers  by Kathleen Raine

Text here is quoted from  where you can read this delightful poem.

 “Kathleen Raine was born in London in 1908, where she grew up; taking on a number of unsatisfactory jobs. Through one of her later jobs she met the nephew of the Indian mystic Rama Coomaraswamy Tambimuttu, who invited her to contribute to his new magazine, Poetry London, she did of course, and soon developed a lifelong passion for all things Indian. Raine began to seriously write toward her late twenties, and by 1943 she had published her first collection of poetry Stone and Flower, which was illustrated by Barbara Hepworth. Three years later the collection Living in Time was released, followed by The Pythoness in 1949. – See more at:

You can also read it here:

I came across Kathleen Raine when researching a little more about Winifred Nicholson a while back.  I saw some of Winifred’s paintings at the Dulwich Picture Gallery last year, and they still delight me.   Take a look here:


Leatherhead Theatre Exhibition 2015 “With Flying Colours” Affordable Prints by Chris Birch and Jenny Meehan

This year I will be showing some affordable prints along with a fellow Kingston Artists’ Open Studios artist.  I will be sorting out the details nearer the time, but the essentials are:

Exhibition runs from Saturday 2nd May until Friday 29th May 2015.

The Leatherhead Theatre
7, Church Street

KT22 8DN

Tel: 01372 365141
Fax:     01372 365195

Accessible location – 5 mins from M25, Junction 9

5 minutes walk from Leatherhead British Rail Station.
Town centre location, close to local shops and restaurants.

Three car parks within a few minutes walk (free after 6pm)

Parking is free on Sundays at the Swan Centre

Access to the exhibition is from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive.  The theatre is not open to the general public on Sundays or Mondays.

Opening times are normally from 10am until around six, but contact the theatre to check as it depends on what else is going on.


Surrey Artists Open Studios

This year I am taking part in the Surrey Artists Open Studios.  I haven’t up until now, because it works out rather expensive… You need to join Surrey Artists Open Studios for the year,  and then pay again to take part.  But as I am pulling back for a while in other departments, ie, not spending my budget on entering competitions or anything like that, I have decided this year it would be a good experience.  I look forward to showing with some of my wonderful Kingston Artists’ Open Studio folk.  Details below, on more blurby stuff!:

Jenny Meehan

Jenny Meehan is a local artist, based in Chessington.  As well as showing her work at this year’s Surrey Artists’ Open Studios and Kingston Artists’ Open Studios she also holds regular open studios at her home in Chessington.   Contact Jenny via the contact form on her website or by emailing: and request to be put on her bi-annual mailing list if you would like to receive an invitation to further open studio events.  

This year you can meet Jenny and some of her fellow artists as part of Surrey Artists’ Open Studios (North on map SAOS 19), Studio KAOS 2, at 14 Liverpool Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 7SZ,  on the following  weekends:  Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June and Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June from 11am until 5pm.  This is within walking distance of Kingston Town Centre, and also near Richmond park. Come along!  If you have time, follow the whole Kingston Artists’ Open Studios trail!

Last, another image from the recent retreat.


retreat 2015 jenny meehan

retreat 2015 jenny meehan


Painting on Retreat

I did do a little bit of experimenting with watercolours on retreat…I haven’t used watercolours very much at all, so it was venturing onto new ground.  Here is one of the experiments:

franciscan office quote, canticles, church of england canticle, Through your gentleness we find comfort in fear by Jenny Meehan

Through your gentleness we find comfort in fear by Jenny Meehan


“Through Your Gentleness We Find Comfort in Fear”

Copyright Information – Jenny Meehan 

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.
Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements.

Licencing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a licence from DACS…They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!) If you use their online form and attach the low resolution image of my artwork which you have found on the internet, they will know which image you seek permission for.

Also, please of course feel free to contact me if you are looking for a particular type of artwork image, as I have a large archive of images myself. I will also be able to let you know the maximum size the digital image is available at. If you then wish to licence the artwork image, you would then contact the Design and Artist Copyright Society to arrange the licencing agreement according to your requirements. Once paid and agreed, I then supply the high resolution image directly to you.

If you need any further clarification, the DACS website is clear and very helpful indeed, and they would be happy to help you.

Design and Artist Copyright Society
33 Old Bethnal Green Road
London E2 6AA
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7336 8811
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7336 8822
Offices are open 0930 – 1700 Monday through Friday.




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